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Placer Sentinel

Placer County solar panel carports go live; estimated to save taxpayers $5 million

Jan 06, 2021 12:00AM ● By Stephanie Herrera, Placer County

Placer Solar Carport Panels, Photo courtesy of Erik Bergen

Placer County solar panel carports go live; estimated to save taxpayers $5 million [2 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

“We are excited to have our buildings powered by an alternative energy supply"

AUBURN, CA (MPG) - Placer County is “going green” heading into the new year, with newly installed solar panels now live at six county buildings, saving tax dollars and providing renewable energy.

“We are excited to have our buildings powered by an alternative energy supply, which will help reduce the county’s carbon footprint,” said Placer County Facilities Management Department Director Steve Newsom. “The carbon reduced by these solar panels is equivalent to more than 900 vehicles removed from the road for over 20 years.”

Carports were installed at Placer County’s Community Development Resource Center, Larry Oddo Finance Administration Building, Auburn Justice Center and Auburn Jail in North Auburn; the Bill Santucci Justice Center in Roseville; and the 1000 Sunset building in Rocklin. 

At all six facilities, the solar panels are mounted on top of new carports that are outfitted with security lighting - shading parked vehicles, reducing light pollution and improving security. 

The solar generation is tied into the electrical grid and will offset the cost of power provided by PG&E and Roseville Electric. The solar panels are expected to generate enough electricity to meet up to 85% of the total energy needs at several facilities, including the Santucci Justice Center and 1000 Sunset building. 

The solar project was made possible by the Placer County Board of Supervisors’ approval of a $275,000, 20-year agreement with ENGIE Services to install, operate and maintain the systems. The county anticipates saving approximately $5 million in energy costs over the next 20-year term. 

The project supports one of Placer County’s critical success factors to provide high-quality, cost-efficient public facilities. The entire organization is working toward becoming paperless and the addition of new solar panels in parking lots at six county buildings is just another example of the county’s continued commitment to environmental responsibility. 

“The solar carports make sense for a variety of reasons and within alignment of our county’s priorities,” said County Executive Officer Todd Leopold. “This project adds to our successful history of implementing policies to save taxpayer dollars, reduce emissions and advance climate sustainability -- including mPower, solar power incentive programs, the Placer County Government Center Master Plan, the county recycling system, the Placer County Sustainability Plan and zero-emission transit buses.”

In January 2020, the Placer County Board of Supervisors also approved the first-ever Placer County Sustainability Plan - a road map to meet California’s greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and reduce the county’s vulnerability to climate risks like worsening wildfire severity.

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